Despite all the plastic and melamine monstrosities out there masquerading as safe kids dinnerware, there are plenty of great options for genuinely eco-friendly, non-toxic bowls, plates, spoons, and so forth.
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We’ve just started baby-led feeding with our little one and are having a blast! So far, our baby is mostly eating finger foods or scooping up tiny morsels from the highchair tray, but we’re also starting to introduce the mind-blowing concept of plates, bowls, spoons, and other dinnerware. As such, I’ve been on the hunt for the best eco-friendly sustainable children’s dinnerware and drinkware, and have personally tested some of the items on this list.
Best sustainable children’s plates
Eco-friendly, non-toxic kids dinnerware materials to look for
For older kids, ceramic is a good option as it’s functional and durable, is made using renewable materials, and is typically non-toxic if properly manufactured. For little kids, though, ceramic is a terrible idea. It is very likely to get dropped on the floor and smashed, which certainly isn’t sustainable and can be downright dangerous.
Instead, look for dinnerware made with natural acacia wood, olive wood, bamboo, tempered glass, stainless steel, or silicone.
Compared to plastic plates and bowls, silicone is a better choice for kids dinnerware. It is non-toxic (in most cases) and doesn’t rely on petroleum except for manufacturing energy. However, silicone is not biodegradable or easily recycled, so isn’t very sustainable overall.
Bamboo and acacia
Bamboo and acacia wood are much better options, if sustainably harvested. These plant materials are biodegradable and renewable and can be used to make plates and bowls that are durable and resilient.
Acacia is a slower-growing wood and heavier to ship than bamboo, so is marginally less eco-friendly overall. If you’ll be using these items for many years, though, the difference is negligible, and acacia is harder wearing than bamboo typically.
Be sure to check that bamboo dinnerware is just made with bamboo and is not melamine molded. Typically, if a bamboo item is said to be dishwasher-safe, that’s because it is blended with melamine (read the fine print of item descriptions carefully and ask if unsure!). In general, it’s best not to use pure bamboo in the microwave or dishwasher as this can damage the natural fibers.
Stainless steel and glass
Stainless steel is another great choice for kids dinnerware. It is durable, relatively lightweight, dishwasher safe and safe for reheating in the oven (just be sure plates aren’t too hot to the touch if using with kids). Don’t microwave stainless steel though!
For certain items, such as tumblers safely ensconced in a silicone sleeve, recycled glass dinnerware is also a good option for kids. Tempered glass is best as it is more robust than standard glass.
The best eco-friendly kids bowls, cups & plates
Here are my top choices for safe, non-toxic, eco-friendly kids’ plates and other mealtime essentials, suitable for kids under the age of three. Following the recommendations, I’ve put together a quick summary of what to watch out for when choosing kids dinnerware and which materials make for truly sustainable dinnerware for kids.
Note: As you’ll see below, not all of these recommendations are specifically for ‘kids’ dinnerware. That’s because many durable pieces designed for adults also work very well for kids. These options are much more sustainable in the long-run as they won’t need recycling or rehoming after just a couple of years of use.
Highlights: Beautiful and durable, food-safe, sustainably harvested acacia wood soup bowls.
Handmade in the Philippines, these beautiful hand-carved acacia wood soup bowls are the perfect size for soup or salad and also make for great kids dinnerware! They’re definitely robust enough to withstand being dropped on the floor and banged by enthusiastic fists.
Unlike plastic kids dinnerware, these bowls look good enough to work for adults and older kids too, making them far more sustainable than plastic bowls you’ll only use for a few years at most.
Don’t use these bowl in the microwave, dishwasher, or oven. Hand-wash only, and keep the bowls in good condition and prevent cracking by wiping them down occasionally with olive oil or other natural preservative that is food-safe.
Available as a single bowl for $14 or as a set of four for $56, these bowls measure 6 inches across and 2 inches high. You can also get matching pasta bowls (see below), as well as a salad serving bowl, and an extra-large salad bowl.
The bowls are made using sustainably harvested wood through SAFFY, a social enterprise in rural communities in the Philippines. SAFFY offers safe employment to artisans, regardless of age, gender, or background. This includes artisans who work from home so as to take care of their families. SAFFY also offers a safe community workshop as well as opportunities for financial management training, and engagement with product development.
Highlights: Eco-friendly, food-safe acacia wood pasta bowls.
Measuring 7.5 inches across and 2.25 inches high, these gorgeous acacia wood pasta bowls are a great choice for the kids dinner table. Durable and delightful, these bowls will easily outlast the toddler years. Made using sustainably harvested wood under fair trade conditions in the Philippines, through SAFFY, these bowls match the soup bowls above.
For a complete dinner set, pair these with the acacia wood dinner and side plates also available at Little Market.
Highlights: Handcarved plates made from acacia wood with a natural dinner table aesthetic.
Handcarved acacia wood plates made by artisans in the Philippines through the social enterprise SAFFY. The side plates measure 8 inches across and 1 inch high, the appetizer plates measure 6 inches across and the dinner plates measure 10 inches across.
Get the complete set for a natural dinner table aesthetic with matching plates for adults and kids! There’s even a charger plate measuring 12 inches across for $28.
Highlights: Kid-friendly stainless steel cup with easy-grasping handle and smooth-lipped design.
Made of high quality 18-8 food grade 304 stainless steel, this 7 ounce (200 ml) unbreakable and lightweight, stainless steel cup is the perfect size for toddlers and young kids. The handle makes for easy grasping and the mug is dishwasher safe and recyclable. It has a smooth-lipped design, making it easy to clean and easy to drink from.
The mug is tested for compliance with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (2008) (CPSIA) and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) and is lead-free.
Zungleboo is a family-owned company that makes lightweight, shatterproof, minimalist tableware using bamboo and PLA bioplastic from corn starch. There’s no BPA and no melamine, even though it looks like melamine. This means the Zungleboo dinnerware is dishwasher-safe and microwave-safe for a quick reheat (avoid using at higher temperatures or for longer than 2-3 minutes).
Zungleboo PLA (poly lactic acid) dinnerware is certified by the US Department of Agriculture as a Biobased Product and is part of the USDA BioPreferred® Program. It has a minimalist appearance, with a matte finish, no chemical coatings or varnishes, and neutral colors (though the company offers a few seasonal special editions!).
Pass your Zungleboo dishes on once you’re done, or, if it breaks, compost it in an industrial facility. Bioplastics are associated with fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to virgin petroleum plastics. Zungleboo tableware is non-toxic and free from harmful substances including phthalates, lead, and other heavy metals.
These plates and bowls are tested by third-party labs and meet food contact standards set by FDA CFR21 and California Proposition 65.
Highlights: Easy-to-use straight-sided minimalist plates ideal for the whole family.
The Namu Salad Plate is perfect for side dishes, bagels and sandwiches, salads, finger foods, and snack time. The plate has a simple lip around the rim, making it particularly good for little ones who haven’t yet developed their pincer grasp. No more frustrated attempts to grab food only to push it off the side of regular plates or tray tables!
These plates are 8 inches in diameter and are shatterproof, lightweight, and super eco-friendly as well as non-toxic. They’re available in Moon White and Pebble Gray, with a matte finish and no coating or varnish.
You can also pick up a set of four Namu dinner plates (10 inch diameter) for $49.99 in the same design.
Highlights: Minimalist, lightweight cereal bowls also suitable for cereal, ice cream, popcorn, pasta, soup, salad, and more.
Available in Stone Black, Pebble Gray, Peach Pink, and Mint Green colors, the Sora bowls have a graceful, simple contour and matte finish. They measure 6 inches in diameter and weigh just 25 ounces, making them the perfect size for kids’ meals and for snacks for older kids and adults.
Highlights: Kids food mat with inbuilt plate and portion control made with food-grade silicone. Microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe.
If you have a kid who just loves to throw all bowls and plates on the floor, consider a silicone Happy Mat from EZPZ. Hard to flip, this mat suctions to the table and has a built-in plate. The three recesses make for easy portion control and are great for kids who like to keep foods separate.
Suitable for kids 12 months and older, this mat measures 15 inches by 10 inches by 1 inch deep. The two smaller compartments hold 4 ounces each and the larger 10 ounces.
The 100% food-grade silicone is unbreakable and free from PVC, phthalates, BPA, BPF, and BPS. And silicone has the advantage of not harboring mold, fungus, or bacteria, though it will start to degrade if not properly cared for. Silicone does hold onto smells though, so wash well with warm soapy water or in the dishwasher.
You can use this mat in the oven and microwave (for warming food up to 350 degrees only). It is also dishwasher safe, or you can wash it by hand with soapy warm water. Dry the mat well before storing, otherwise, the silicone can get ‘sticky’.
Unfortunately, EZPZ ships its products in packaging with some plastic. Most of it is recycled and recyclable though (remove the plastic window before recycling the cardboard box).
Highlights: Suction bowl made with food-grade silicone, with 3 compartments ideal for 9 months and up.
Green Sprouts offers a range of baby-friendly silicone tableware including this three-compartment suction bowl ideal for babies 9 months and older. It sticks well to tabletops and highchair trays to keep messes minimal but has an easy-release tab for easy clean-up.
The three compartments make it easy to introduce new foods and control portions, with two sections holding 2 ounces and one holding 4 ounces. I worry that because this bowl is quite deep, though, it might make it hard for shorter babies to see their food.
The silicone is free from PVC, BPA, BPF, and BPS, is easy to clean (hand wash or put in the dishwasher) and is also oven safe and microwave safe up to 350 degrees. The bowl is available in five colors and comes in recyclable cardboard packaging.
Highlights: Non-toxic feeding bowl with suction base available in five colors.
Green Sprouts silicone feeding bowl is made with food-grade silicone that is free from PVC, phthalates, BPA, BPF, and BPS. It has a wide suction cup base and easy-release tap and is dishwasher safe for easy clean-up.
Highlights: Mealtime mat with 8 ounce silicone bowl for easy, less-mess mealtimes and quick clean-up.
The EZPZ food-grade silicone Mini Bowl is near impossible to flip! Attack it firmly to the table using the suction mat and promote early self-feeding of pasta, purees, cereal, oatmeal, and more. The Mini Bowl is free from toxic chemicals, is dishwasher safe, and you can use it in the microwave and oven up to 350 degrees.
The bowl measures 8.5 x 7 x 1.25 inches and holds 8 ounces. Because it’s larger and shallower, this bowl is great for shorter babies – so they can actually see their food and find it with a spoon or fork!
Bonus – Utensils and more
Once you’ve got your kids plates, cups, and bowls sorted, you’ll want some spoons, forks, baby bibs, and other items suitable for little learning hands and mouths.
Highlights: Beautiful kids flatware made with stainless steel and cute animal imagery. A real collector’s item and a big hit in our house!
If you’re looking to make mealtime truly special, consider Kleynimals. This 3-piece stainless steel baby flatware set includes a feeder spoon, baby spoon, and baby fork with the Kleynimals signature safari friends (Eli the Elephant, Gus the Giraffe, and Leo the Lion). The flatware is super cute and durable and packed in a reusable muslin bag. Pass the set down to your grandkids one day!
Kirsten, a mom and founder of Kleynimals, generously sent me an Arctic Friends flatware set (view here) when she found out we were expecting. We just started using the flatware and I absolutely love this set!
Kirsten cleverly designed these utensils for baby-sized hands to help develop fine motor skills and self-feeding. The spoon and fork measure 5 inches, while the feeder spoon measures 5.5 inches.
Made in the USA of 100% food grade stainless steel (18/10), these utensils are similar enough to adult flatware that your baby will feel like everyone else at the table. The stainless steel is also dishwasher safe and easy to keep clean.
I love that the flatware is made of stainless steel because my roots are in the Steel City, also known as Sheffield, UK. I grew up in Sheffield and it’s where my grandfather worked in a steel rolling mill while my grandma worked for the Master Cutler!
NB. Our newborn loved the Kleynimals Rattle (view here), which helped ease car rides for the first little while. This still provides hours of fun as an addition to our play gym, and I’ve worn the minimalist Jangles (view here) as a bangle that makes for a handy toy and teether.
Highlights: 5-inch spoons made from USDA certified organic bamboo that’s finished with organic flaxseed oil.
Easy for parents to hold and baby to eat from, these 5-inch spoons are made from USDA certified organic bamboo finished with organic flaxseed oil. They come with a cotton leash and rust-resistant stainless steel clip to minimize dropping.
Bambu baby spoons are non-toxic, with no phthalates or BPA, no glues, lacquers, or other toxic finishes. You can hand wash the spoons in soapy water, but don’t soak them for a prolonged period and don’t put them in the dishwasher.
The spoons are durable, lightweight, and tested and approved under US code CFR Title 16 for safety. They are also made by a certified B Corporation! Bambu ships them in recyclable packaging made from recycled content. The spoons themselves are also biodegradable at end of life.
Highlights: Baby-friendly bamboo fork and spoon made by a B Corp and designed for little hands to self-feed.
Once your baby reaches 12 months old, with a pincer grasp and rapidly improving fine motor skills, get them their very own bamboo fork and spoon! These easy-grip utensils are made with USDA certified organic bamboo and are the ideal size for little hands and mouths.
Bambu finishes each fork and spoon with certified organic flaxseed oil. The utensils are free from phthalates, BPA, and other toxic chemicals, are durable and lightweight, and pass all relevant safety tests in the US. Bambu is a B Corporation and ships its product in recycled and recyclable packaging. The spoon and fork are biodegradable once you’re done (though they stand up to years of use first if properly cared for!).
Highlights: Toddler-friendly bamboo fork and spoon with a cute animal etching, made by a B Corp and designed for little hands to self-feed.
Designed for toddlers 18 months and older, these bamboo utensils have an easy-grasp handle with a cute animal etching. The fork and spoon are made by a B Corp with USDA certified organic bamboo finished with certified organic flaxseed oil.
The flatware is free from phthalates, BPA, and other toxic chemicals. It is durable and lightweight, and comes in recycled and recyclable packaging. The spoon and fork will biodegrade naturally, leaving no toxic chemicals behind.
Highlights: Highlight: Climate-neutral kids forks and spoons made with bamboo by a B Corp that cares.
To-Go-Ware is a great company making reusable products that offer an excellent alternative to throwaway single-use plastic items. These bamboo forks and spoons are 4 inches long and great for mealtimes, school, parties, picnics, and camping. The spoons and forks are intended for use by kids 18 months and older. (Choose Bambu or Kleynimals above if you’re looking for mealtime utensils for younger babies.)
Though the company says the utensils are dishwasher safe, I’d still handwash to avoid damaging the fibers. The spoons and forks are free from BPA, phthalates, heavy metals, and other harmful chemicals. They are shipped in recyclable and recycled packaging and To-Go-Ware is a B Corporation and Climate Neutral Certified, as well as a member of 1% for the Planet.
The company also offers a 5-pack of bamboo knives in the same style (view here). Add one to the mealtime rotation and have four back-ups for a family picnic!
Highlights: Perfect for 4 months and older, this silicone cup has a weighted bottom and smooth lip to support independent drinking.
The Tiny Cup is made with food-grade silicone that is free from PVC, phthalates, BPA, BPF, BPS, and other toxic chemicals. The silicone helps to protect developing teeth while supporting lip closure and tongue use by babies four months and older.
Silicone is an easier material for babies to hold as it feels soft and is non-slip. The weighted base of this cup also offers stability and sensory awareness, helping to minimize spills.
The Tiny Cup can be used for warm and cold liquids alike and holds 2 ounces, measuring 2.5 inches tall and 2.2 inches across. You can wash this cup by hand with warm soapy water or in the dishwasher. The cup is also microwave and oven safe up to 350 degrees.
Highlights: Organic cotton baby bibs made with wind power and rainwater!
If you’re looking for the most eco-friendly bib out there, Blaynk has you covered. Well, they have your baby covered anyway.
These organic cotton baby bibs are super cute and super simple. They’re made using undyed, chemical free organic cotton that is processed in a factory powered by the wind. And because the company relies on harvested rainwater and doesn’t use any textile dyes, these bibs are great for water conservation and the environment.
Machine washable on a cold water gentle cycle, these bibs get softer with every wash and can be sun-bleached on the line if any stains linger. You can also tumble dry the bibs on low.
The company’s factories are Fair Trade and Oeko-Tex certified and the bibs are packaged in a reusable organic cotton bag and shipped plastic-free in recyclable packaging.
As with all eco-friendly products, kids dinnerware is only truly sustainable if it is made under ethical working conditions. This means no child labor or indentured or forced labor, safe factories, living wages, and health benefits, ideally. Better yet, manufacturers and companies selling these products should offer employees opportunities for further education, paid days off to volunteer in the community, and a robust anti-discrimination policy that promotes a diverse workplace.
At Leaf Score, we always favor companies that support sustainability initiatives such as active transport programs, zero-waste factory processes, water conservation, energy efficiency efforts, and the use of renewable energy to power operations. Often, these are B Corporations, but others can and do make the cut!
If you know of a company making sustainable kids dinnerware, get in touch. We’d love to keep adding to this list!